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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

Next month I will be breeding my male (1 yr) and female (9 months) and I would love any advice that pertains to the questions below.

Disclaimer 1: These are all questions I have already asked my mentor breeder, but I would like to find out what is most desirable from the community as well so I can provide her and the babies with the best care that I can.

Disclaimer 2: I have both my male and female's lineage going back 6 generations on a pedigree program called Kintraks, and they are all free of WHS. I have known my breeder for 2 years now and have been talking with her about breeding in the future since then. After much research and a year later I got my male, 8 months later I got my female. All this time she has been providing me with great information, resources, advice, and stories of her own up until now. They are also both registered on IHR. I plan to breed not as a business but not as a random hobby, either. I of course will do my own type of background check on inquiring owners and make sure the babies go to good homes, or stay with me and live out their lives comfortably here. I have an AMAZING exotic vet ( Dr. Joy Lucas http://www.upstateamc.com/veterinarians.html ) that I would trust with all my animals lives. She has seen both hedgies multiple times and has given them both health examinations to make sure they are alright to begin breeding. If you have any other questions or if I forgot something please let me know! I want to breed as safely and as professionally as possible.

1. What is the best cycle to keep her in with my male (I've seen 4 on 4 off then 4 on again, I've seen 10 days straight, and I've seen a week on a couple days off then a week on)

2. When they're together, I will remove all the clutter that will be in their way, but is the wheel alright to stay? Should I put both wheels? I feel they will get pretty stir crazy of not. Also, will they be fine sleeping in the same hut together?

3. http://instagr.am/p/BJjxFAWADTh/ this is the basic setup of her cage (top one) should I change anything with it once I put her back other than a couple weeks before the due date put her nesting box with safe bedding? Also, what bedding is recommended? I was thinking the white fluffy "All Living Things Small Pet Bedding".

4. Speaking of nesting box, I've searched around the forum for ideas but I'm not finding too much. I was thinking of a plastic storage box big enough for her and the babies to fit comfortably but see through so I can monitor.

5. Is a heating pad desired for under their den box to keep the babies extra warm? Right now I have a CHE as well as covering most of the cages with a soft warm blanket to keep the warmth in.

6. Should I handle her as much as I do, more, or less while she's pregnant? I don't want to stress her but I don't want her to get used to not being handled, especially if I want her to be okay with me checking in on the babies when they become 3 weeks.

7. I've got mixed answers on this one. Do I start the gestation period countdown once I put her back in her cage after mating or the time that I put her in with my male?

8. I feed a mix of Fromm surf and turf and 4Health indoor cat. When the babies are weaned, is this ok food to feed them right away? Should I feed them the Fromm food thats more high in fat/protein or start them off slow? Also, is it a good idea to wet it?

9. Is there a good chart or post for breeders to reference or get an idea on the price range for color patterns/variations? I want to price fairly.

10. The only thing I'm not too sure about with this whole process is the paperwork and records I will need. I know I need to register the litter on IHR, I need to add the litter into Kintraks (which I need to give to the new owners) I will need to keep records of the breeding cycle, the gestation period, the due date, the sexes, their ages, etc. Any other paperwork other than this? Do I need to make a contract? If so, what is suggested to write in?

Thank you all so much for your response.

:)
 

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I can't help with most of these as I'm not a breeder, but wanted to comment on a few. We don't have many breeders on the forum, so I'm not sure if you'll get a lot of answers for the questions that require breeder input - Nikki is the one that's most active.

5. No heating pad - they can cause burns even on low settings from long-term exposure.

7. You start from the first day she's in the male as that's the first possible opportunity that she could get pregnant. You end up with a range of dates to where she could give birth - 35 days from the first day she's in with the male up until 55 days after the last day she's in with the male.

9. It's not a good idea to price by color, IMO. That encourages people to judge & pick a baby based on color and the most important thing is health, followed by personality. Price will depend on the availability & demand for hedgehogs in your area.

10. A contract is probably a good idea, it seems like a lot of reputable breeders do make them. From what I've seen, most include their no-WHS/genetic issues guarantee in one (refunds or a new baby are usually the promise if either thing pops up), as well as usually lines about no breeding. Breeders tend to want to know if someone they're selling to has any intention of breeding because most differentiate between breeding-quality hedgehogs & pet-quality ones. Plus they don't want someone brand new to hedgehogs to up & breed one of their babies right away & risk their health/safety. And some breeders will also require notification if the owner is planning to rehome their hedgehog, or even require that the hedgehog come back to them so they can find another appropriate home. I don't know all of the details involved with contracts though, this is just a few of the things that I've seen mentioned when checking breeder sites & such.
 

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1. I put my female in with the male for 4 days. I didn't put them back together after that.

2. I always took the wheel out but left them two sleeping areas. Some females don't want the male around them after mating.

3/4. You'll need to take the wheel out and give her a nesting box. You can use a large igloo hide or some people use plastic tubs. You also need to use some type of loose bedding. I used aspen and I sometimes used carefresh.

5. You don't need a heating pad. As long as you keep the cage at a suitable temperature mom will keep the babies warm.

6. You can handle her as normal up to the last few days before she's due.

7. Start counting 35 days from the first night they are together and 55 days from the last night they were together. She can deliver anytime between those two dates.

8. Once the babies are born start adding a bit of kitten food to mom's mix. This will give her the extra fat she need to produce milk. The babies will start eating her crumbs when they're old enough and then they will start eating her food.

9. Price varies by location so it depends on what breeders are charging in your area. I never charged based on colour, all my babies were the same price.

10. I always had a contract that explained my life time warranty against WHS, stated that if the baby needed to be rehomed after they took it home that I had to be notified, also explaineded my refund policy. The contract had the baby's registration number, parents name and birthdate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1. I put my female in with the male for 4 days. I didn't put them back together after that.

2. I always took the wheel out but left them two sleeping areas. Some females don't want the male around them after mating.

3/4. You'll need to take the wheel out and give her a nesting box. You can use a large igloo hide or some people use plastic tubs. You also need to use some type of loose bedding. I used aspen and I sometimes used carefresh.

5. You don't need a heating pad. As long as you keep the cage at a suitable temperature mom will keep the babies warm.

6. You can handle her as normal up to the last few days before she's due.

7. Start counting 35 days from the first night they are together and 55 days from the last night they were together. She can deliver anytime between those two dates.

8. Once the babies are born start adding a bit of kitten food to mom's mix. This will give her the extra fat she need to produce milk. The babies will start eating her crumbs when they're old enough and then they will start eating her food.

9. Price varies by location so it depends on what breeders are charging in your area. I never charged based on colour, all my babies were the same price.

10. I always had a contract that explained my life time warranty against WHS, stated that if the baby needed to be rehomed after they took it home that I had to be notified, also explaineded my refund policy. The contract had the baby's registration number, parents name and birthdate.
Thank you SO much Nikki for the detailed response. I actually forgot to ask about warning signs to look out for during birth as well as the first week as far as mom complications/birthing complications/baby complications. I of course looked at all the complication threads as well as learned them from my breeder, but for instance, how long should a birthing take and when do I need to worry/what signs should I be looking for if mom is stressed other than her eating the babies? which I don't want it to get to that point/when should I intervene if she rejects them, how long do I wait? Things of that nature and anything else you can provide if you have anything!
 

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Length of labour really depends on the mom and how many babies she's having. I would say if she is pushing for more than an hour with no progress then it would be time to think about a vet check. It's normal for mom to not eat for a day or so after the babies are born but if she goes more than 2 days of not eating once again it's time to see a vet. You want to watch for lethargy and just abnormal behaviour from her.

Signs of stress can vary greatly between moms. Some signs are pacing, babies crying with her not responding to them and just general signs of aggitation.

If she's is actively hurting the babies then you need to intervene right away. If she is rejecting them you can try to put them back with her. You will need to hold them in your hand to make sure they are warm, moms won't take a cold baby, then slip it or them back into the nest. Turning on all the lights in the room and even shining a lamp into the cage often helps as it encourages mom to go back into the nest to avoid the light. If mom still won't take the baby back then it's time to start preparing to hand raise. Hand raising is extremely difficult with hedgehogs and unfortunately most babies don't survive.
 
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